Video switch hell

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by 2njl, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. 2njl

    2njl New Member

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    Jan 23, 2006
    I've got too many sources (cable, TiVo, DVD, Xbox, VCR) for my TV, so after buying a Harmony 676 remote, I figured I should upgrade from the manual Wal-Mart s-video switch to a remote controlled one.

    I tried a Kinyo AV-100 first. Programming the Harmony for it was a snap. Then we realized certain scenes on certain DVDs just don't produce an output picture through it for some reason.

    Got an RMA for that, and decided to try an RCA VH-920. Picture is fine, but the Harmony can't control it. Harmony's database of commands for it is totally wrong, and after 30 minutes of Harmony support, I was told they couldn't help. The issue is, it doesn't come with its own remote, so there's no straight forward way to have the Harmony learn the native commands for it, and the VH-920's learn mode refuses to learn enough different signals to be controlled properly...not that I wanted to go that route anyway, as it doesn't save this info across power loss.

    So, can anyone recommend a remote controllable s-video switch which can be random access controlled by a Harmony 676? By random access, I mean just cycling through inputs doesn't cut it...it needs to support IR commands to switch to the desired input. Ideally, it should be able to convert a composite video input to s-video output...but I'm not actually using that feature and can probably live without it. 2 outputs would be nice too...but I can definitely live without that.

    I'm tempted to try the RCA VH-915 (probably should have to start with...but the 920 seemed better).

    Has anyone tried the TopSalesDepot one...they advertise on buy.com's web site...so you'll see a link to them if you go to buy.com and look up either the VH-920 or VH-915. Their
     
  2. hitbyatrain

    hitbyatrain Your Hero

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    If I was in your situation (and I pretty much am), I'd get a switching A/V reciever with multiple inputs. Some of them now even output HDMI. You're going to spend a little more (probably) but you should be able to get a decent one for around $200. (Well, not one with HDMI.)
     
  3. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I use a VH-920 with my Harmony and it was a HUGE pain to setup. I don't remember the exact steps that I did to get it working, but basically I customized each "watch" button to send the corrosponding VH-920 code like 6 times consecutively. It's still not perfect (sometimes it doesn't switch) but it's about 85% accurate.

    Back when I had my Pronto this was not a problem at all. :(

    Dan
     
  4. ChuckyBox

    ChuckyBox New Member

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    Good thinking. I'd recommend the Denon AVR-5805. Also, get some speakers. Good ones.
     
  5. hitbyatrain

    hitbyatrain Your Hero

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    Good God yes. Spot on.
     
  6. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Buying a $6,000 reciever seems like a bit of an over kill don't you think? Considering the switch he's using was probably less then $100.

    Dan
     
  7. ChuckyBox

    ChuckyBox New Member

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    This from a guy with five TiVos.

    Sure, the 5805 is a bit of an upgrade from the switch, but it will provide good sound, too. Good for music. Good for home theater. Good for the Xbox games. When you look at it that way, a little extra expense isn't such a big deal, is it?
     
  8. Edmund

    Edmund Remote Czar TCF Club

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    Keep an eye out on ebay for the radio shack 15-1987, I have two they're great. Learns any commands, once learned, never loses the commands even if unplugged for long periods of time.

    The sensitivity of this selector is great, use them in macros, control them via RF remotes, never a dropped command.
     
  9. samo

    samo New Member

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    I was going to suggest radio shack as well. I don't recall what model I have (I got it couple of years ago) but it switches 4 inputs to 1 output (actually 2 outputs, but both outputs have a same signal), converts composite to S-video or S-video to composite and uses IR to switch. Switch learns any IR signal and has good sensitivity.
     
  10. Edmund

    Edmund Remote Czar TCF Club

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    That sounds like the 15-1977, the little brother to 1987. The 1987 is 6-in & 2 out, and adds optical inputs.

    I use the 15-1977 as a tool, I teach commands from one remote, then search with another remote for the identical commands.
     
  11. hitbyatrain

    hitbyatrain Your Hero

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    Yeah, but. . . wouldn't it be COOL?

    Of course, he could always get a Sony/Pioneer/Whatever receiver for $200 or less. And it would work like a charm.
     
  12. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Yeah I'd love to have a reciever like that, but just the thought of spending $6K on a receiver, without speakers, gives me buyer remorse. :eek: I have a $400 Onkyo system, that came complete with speakers, that has 4 inputs and sounds just fine to me. :) I might consider paying $100-$1500 for a nicer system some day, but that's about the top of my range for audio. I just can't imagine I could hear the difference.

    Dan
     
  13. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

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    Potato and pen.
    I'd really like to have a receiver that doesn't cost like it's made of solid gold, works decently (doesn't need to be top of the line), but has at least a half dozen A/V inputs.

    THAT is a problem with my stuff. Only three video inputs on the receiver. I have to have four sources channeled into one of the inputs thru a MANUAL switchbox. Suppose I could find a remote-controlled switchbox, but that would only be slightly better than what I have now.

    A single receiver that can be used for AM/FM, cassette (I still have a deck...haven't used it in over a year) and my video equipment. I'd want at least six A/V inputs. That'd be the right animal for my setup.
     
  14. ChuckyBox

    ChuckyBox New Member

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    How about this one? You can probably get last year's model (the 06) for $200 less, or an 06 refurb for about half. You could drive speakers costing $5K to $10K with that pup and get very good performance. I have the 03, and it is very, very nice.

    Edit: Here you go: http://www.dakmart.com/website/ItemDetail.asp?ItemId=41889&cID=111 You could look a eCost, PCMall, or overstock, too.
     
  15. xnevergiveinx

    xnevergiveinx New Member

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    i got one of these cheap remote video switchers through ebay for like $25 a few years ago. for the most part, it works fine. my tv sucks, so i'm stuck with only composite inputs...so things aren't awesome quality, but i've become accustomed to it.
    the part that sucks is that whenever the power goes out, i have to unplug this unit for a few minutes, otherwise it won't switch inputs with the remote
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Audio-Video-Sel...710061948QQcategoryZ73390QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
     
  16. 2njl

    2njl New Member

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    Jan 23, 2006
    Any idea where you got the inputs / how you convinced your Harmony to talk to it? I suspect if I could find an RCA/GE/Proscan TV in the Harmony database that had enough video inputs, I could tell Harmony the VH-920 is that TV and that it has to put that TV on input$Foo for each of my devices.

    I just got the idea to try telling Harmony that the VH-920 is actually an RCA A/V receiver, using the example one from the Harmony web site, which happens to have 7 inputs. I had high hopes, but this got me nowhere. I suspect when the manual says "if you have GE/Proscan/RCA" stuff, the VH-920 will just work, they mean it knows the on/off codes for those brands DVD players, VCRs, etc. and will switch based on those. It's too bad the VH-920 doesn't follow any standard (and work like a VH-915 or their A/V receiver).

    I guess this PoS is going back. Now I have to figure out what to buy next. As for that $5k Denon...yeah right. I could also just hire a buttler to stand by the switch and push the buttons for me.

    We don't have speakers, or home theater gear...and we don't really have the space or desire to go that route. I just want a remotely controlled device (don't care if you call it a switch or receiver) that'll swap between a handful of video inputs.

    I'm guessing Radio Shack no longer sells the 15-1987?
     
  17. Edmund

    Edmund Remote Czar TCF Club

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    The 15-1987 has been discontinued, but they might be on shelf in a radio shack around you, try them all.
     
  18. TiVo Steve

    TiVo Steve New Member

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    Seattle WA.
    I picked up a Swann SW-P-AVMH remote controlled switcher (4 in - 1 out) S-Video and Composite, off of ebay for around $30. I's been working great for over a year. It's codebase is on the Logitech Harmony site, AND it has a remote the looks like a "baby" TiVo peanut. It also has a timed switching function (probably for surveillance cameras).
    If you need to get an HDMI switcher (down the road), try monoprice.com. It's a great place for cables also!
     
  19. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I used the default codes that it assigns to a VH-920, I just went into the advanced setup page and had it send the input select command like 6 times in a row rather then just once like it does by default.

    Dan
     
  20. 2njl

    2njl New Member

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    Jan 23, 2006

    Doing it that way, it seems like you'd only be able to cycle through the inputs and not have the ability to jump directly to a particular input. We found out by accident tonight that my previous attempts to program the VH-920 with an old remote from a TV we don't use cause it to switch to the VCR input when we send the volume up command to our Sony TV.

    I realized today, that I have one more pocket sized universal remote that I might theoretically be able to train the VH-920 with, and then have the Harmony learn those codes...and reprogram the VH-920 from the Harmony as needed.

    I'm also torn between trying the RCA VH-915 and the TopSalesDepot one next. The VH-915, I bet will work and it comes with its own remote, so even if Harmony doesn't support it natively, I should be able to have the Harmony learn from the 915's remote. But after seeing what a PoS the 920 is, and how poorly (not at all) RCA supports it, I don't really want to support them. I may call TopSalesDepot and ask them some questions about theirs...as the web site really doesn't fully describe their switch.
     

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